Last year, Purdue had a stable of backs, this quickly disappeared when the injury bug hit the backfield. At one spring practice, I went to watch Coach Barclay and the only healthy back he had was Horvath.
Now, after a few months, it appears that we are back to a full compliment of backs, besides big back Richie Worship, who has still not recovered from last year’s season ending injury.
This years backfield is once again loaded, but with two seniors, we have to start reloading this position in recruiting, in the 2018 class we had Evan Anderson come in, a promising freshman that will probably get redshirted.
So, who is in the battle this year? I have four, still.
Markell Jones, D.J. Knox, Tario Fuller adn Alexander Horvath.
The Starter: Markell Jones, Senior
Markell has remade his body and seems to be 100% for the first time since his freshman year. He had an injury plagued sophomore year and his junior year he started 3rd on the depth chart as he was a bit out of shape.
None of that matters now, the Senior has had a solid Purdue career and is poised for a great senior year. I actually chose him to be the offensive MVP this year in T-Mill’s latest post. Markell, if healthy, is our most well rounded back, he can catch, block, and run.
First Reserve: D.J. Knox, Senior
The other senior running back was productive last year. His compact frame allows him to run between the tackles but he is fast enough to get the edge too. Let’s not forget the hidden midget play in the bowl game too, that was spectacular.
Knox will be a great first reserve to Markell and will spell him quite often.
Change of Pace: Tario Fuller, Junior
Tario started as the #1 last year, but an injury ended his season. His spring was not as strong as you would like. I like Tario to be the guy to come in on 3rd down to make the defense guess. He is our best receiver out of the backfield and is the most explosive in the open field. Don’t be surprised if he is back to starting at some point.
Big Back: Alexander Horvath, RS Freshman
With Richie still out, Horvath gets the nod here. If you have seen him in person, he looks like a Greek God. Horvath, an Indiana native, should be on every special teams this fall as well. Horvath is a great looking back and will probably get some carries as well. He walked on last year as an unknown commodity, now, he is fighting for carries. Amazing.